I picked up a copy of the G-free diet by Elizabeth Hasselback at the library last week. To be honest, I don't think I'll ever go gluten-free, but I thought the book might be interesting, and the cover looked so cute I thought I'd check it out.
There was a lot of great information on celiac disease, which causes the body not to tolerate gluten. The first thing I learned from this book was that it takes constant work to make sure you aren't eating gluten! If any of you reading this haven't heard of Amy's blog, Simply Sugar and Gluten Free, make sure to check it out. She has lots of great recipes and resources for those who are G-free.
The part of the book that I could most relate to is the Chapter "G-free and slim as can be!" Elisabeth explains healthy principles that can guide all of us in our food decisions, whether we are eating gluten or not.
From The G-Free Diet:
"Gone are the days of living off foods with mile-long lists of ingredients, or one dimensional starches that left me forever craving more... without providing my body with the nutrients that it needed to thrive. I have more energy than before. I have more stamina to train and work out more efficiently. By default, when those factors are in synch, I tend to want to eat in a healthier way.
You, too may find that by building your diet around basic foods close to their natural state--foods direct from the earth such as fish and meats, fruits and vegetables and nuts-- you will nourish your body, instead of merely cluttering it with empty calories and unpronounceable chemicals...
We obsess over fat and calories but pay very little attention to actual ingredients in the foods we eat, and the essential nutrients that they should be delivering. Somehow, we lose sight of the fact that, quite simply, some foods are healthier and more nutritionally dense than others. Some foods fill us up and leave us happy and satisfied; other foods leave us constantly hungry for more. Foods that carry maximum nutritional impact are crucial , whether you have embarked on a particular diet out of necessity or by choice.
Most people can relate to episodes of overeating. Many times, you might feel a persistent dissatisfaction, even after a monster meal. Sound familiar? No matter what quantity of food you are eating, if your body is not getting the nutrients that it needs, it will continue to want more. Your body has an internal checklist of vitamins, minerals, and nutrients that it needs every day to flourish. If your diet is not checking off every item on that list, your body sends signals to "keep on searching," to fill those nutritional deficiencies... thus throwing us into "overdrive eating."...
The secret to long-term health and fitness is not counting calories and fat and leaping on the scale first thing every morning. (I have done all of the above.) Though these numbers may make you feel more in control, the critical information is what's behind those numbers. You can get triple the amount of fat from a bag of almonds than from a bag of M&M's, but the nutritional content isn't even in the same ballpark. In terms of heat and energy burned, 2000 calories is 2000 calories. That said, eating 2000 calories of junk a day would leave you with a significant mineral and vitamin deficiency-- and a significant lack of energy. Eventually, your body is going to cry uncle. Going G-free forces you to step up and start looking at the big picture."
EAting healthier for most of us doesn't have to mean going without gluten. It does mean making conscious decisions about our food. We need to choose whole over processed foods. We have to pay attention to what we're eating so that we can nourish our bodies.
Here are my suggestions to put this into practice:
1. Cook! Make something you would normally buy. If you make it, you can be sure of the ingredients.
2. Try something new. Quinoa. Kale. Flaxseed oil.
3. Read the list of ingredients rather than the nutritional facts on packages. Find out what your food is, rather than how much fat or calories it contains.
4. Take a look at your wheat intake. Try going wheat-free for a meal, a day, or more.